View Full Version : Housetraining/crate-training puppies or adult dogs

25th August 2006, 01:59 PM

I strongly recommend buying Shirlee Kalstone's classic housetraining book: How to Housetrain a Dog in Seven Days (it will take longer but the puppy or adult will have the basic idea by then if you are consistent). This gives guidance on both house and crate training (they are connected) and lots of schedules and approaches.


THis is an excellent, sums-it-ALL-up quick read. Follow this and you WILL end up with a housetrained puppy!


Also read these. Here are two excellent guides from US trainer Dee Ganley. I've posted the main housetraining guide because the points are so important, especially the aspect of not punishing and the psychology of housetraining and the need for YOU to get the puppy out regularly, not expect a little puppy to know to tell you it has to go. This is like expecting a small toddler to be fully potty trained simply because you would like her to be and she has used a potty before! You need to give constant and positive guidance with puppies as with children.

In particular: You would not push a toddler's face into her excrement because she failed to use a potty or slap her-- and nor should a person EVER do this to a dog. Consider that a toddler would not have any idea why you were doing this, or be able to make any connection between act and punishment -- and you can speak to a child! A puppy/dog is the same -- all you do is create an inclination for the puppy to wee and defecate secretly when you are not looking, making it even harder to housetrain; and cause the dog to be fearful of you, and wary of your unpredictable behaviour.

Housetraining Your Puppy, posted below, can be downloaded here: http://deesdogs.com/documents/housetrainingyourpuppy.pdf

Crate Training, which is the companion document to this one and should also be read, is here: http://deesdogs.com/documents/cratetrianing.pdf

Another excellent guide to crate training: http://diamondsintheruff.com/crate.html

And please read this on housetraining SMALL BREEDS: http://diamondsintheruff.com/htsmdog.html

Several excellent articles from an excellent site for anyone having housetraining issues: http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=C&C=127&S=0

Finally: do not consider paper training unless you really, really love housetraining so much that you want to double your amount of work :lol: -- for then, you have to housetrain TWICE -- first to have the pup use paper, and then to have the pup go outside. It is much faster and easier in the long term to take the puppy out each and every time to where you want it to go. :thmbsup:

Keep in mind that cavaliers are very small puppies and they can wee and be done lightning fast, without you seeing, in a rug or carpet -- they need to be watched like hawks at all times when indoors. Each time they go inside they will likely seek out the same place in your carpet, floor or bedding tp go again, as they will look again for the urine/feces scent that regular detergents and cleaners will not wash away -- you need to get an enzymatic cleaner such as Nature's Miracle or Four Paws to break down the chemical composition of the odour.

Have fun! :lol: And remember, consistency WILL pay off. So put the time in now, even though sometimes it seems to go on and on; and get results sooner. :)

Housetraining your Puppy
(By Dee Ganley)

The puppy has arrived! The kids are crazy about him, he’s cute as a button and lots of
fun, and oops! He’s just had an accident on your best rug. Housetraining is the least
enjoyable aspect of raising a dog but we hope the following information will make it
easier for you and the puppy.

Puppies have very small bladders and they digest their food quite quickly so they
need to go to the bathroom very frequently. Therefore, the more often you can get the
puppy outside, (always on a leash, don’t forget), the fewer accidents that will occur. Don’t
be surprised if initially you have to make the trip every 30-45 minutes – yes, it does seem
like every 10 seconds! Always go to the same spot and use whatever catchphrase you like:
“go potty” or “hurry up” for example. Allow the puppy a reasonable amount of time (2-3
minutes) to accomplish his task, then praise and reinforce (give a small food reward) when
the job is done. As the puppy grows older and his bladder control gets better, he may not
actually need to go to the bathroom when you take him. If this happens, after 2-3 minutes
tell him, “too bad”, take hime back in the house and put him in his crate (told you the crate
would come in handy...) for 15 minutes or so, then try again. If you faithfully and
consistently follow this regime the housebreaking period should be quite short.

You’re probably wondering what happened to (and what’s wrong with) the
traditional “stick his nose in it, smack him, and yell NO!” This method is not all that
effective. The dog in fact does not make the leap of understanding that you are hoping for;
that defecating or urinating in the house is wrong – a purely human concept. Animals
eliminate wherever thay happen to be – there is no right or wrong place with the one
exception of their den space, which in your puppy’s case is his crate. While a dog will
eventually become housebroken using this method (mainly because his control becomes
better), it also guarantees that you will end up with a dog that will not eliminate in front of
you, which presents real problems when you go to the vet orwhen traveling. It is your
responsibility to teach (and punishing is not teaching) the puppy where he may go to the
bathroom and where he may not. This is accomplished far more readily using positive
reinforcement. You want your puppy to view you as the source of all the good things in
his life: traditional housebreaking methods definitely do NOT fall under this heading.

Puppies do try to let you know when they need to go out: sniffing the floor
anxiously, circling and sometimes whining are all tell-tale signs but often by the time we
catch on it’s too late. If the puppy has already had an accident, it’s too late to take him out
– again. The puppy will not make the association you are looking for. A regular timetable,
no matter how may trips outside a day (or night) are necessary, will expedite the whole
procedure more that anything else.

“What goes up must come down” and with puppies, what goes in must come out.

Consult with your veterinarian or local trainer about how much to feed and how often – the
amounts suggested on the back of the puppy chow bag are aimed at selling more food
rather than what a puppy needs for healthy growth. Overfeeding can cause serious
physical problems that result from the puppy growing too fast. It will also add to the
number of trips you have to make outside. Free access to clean, fresh water is a must for
dogs of any age but for puppies, restrict water (and food) intake after 6 PM. This will help
eliminate that trip outside at 3 AM.

As your puppy grows up, you can teach him to ring a bell to let you know that he
needs to go out. Begin by rewarding him for any interaction with the a bell (a giant
Christmas jingle bell on a string is perfect). Then hand the bell on the door and teach him
to touch the bell with his nose – reinforce by saying “YES!” and giving him a food treat
when he does. Follow this by immediately taking him outside to his “spot”. Again, give
him a reasonable time frame to the job done. If successful, praise and treat. If not, say “too
bad” and return to the house. The puppy will very quickly learn that he get to go out when
he rings the bell and that he will be rewarded (reinforced) for going to the bathroom – a
good deal for everyone involved.

No matter how diligently you work on housetraining accidents will happen. But
do remember that it is just that – an accident, not something your puppy does out of spite
or stubbornness or to “get back at you”. Dogs just don’t think that way. Don’t get angry
and please don’t punish your dog. The more time and effort you put into housetraining, the
sooner it will be done. Be patient, not punitive. As time consuming (and sometimes
frustrating) as it may be, you can make housebreaking a positive training experience that
will strengthen the positive and fun relationship that you are building with your puppy.

If you would like more information about housetraining or need help with
aspecific housetraining problems, please email Dee at dee@deesdogs.com

P.S. To all dog owners: when walking your dog or taking him out in public,
please clean up after him. Plastic bags are great for this.